Reviewed by Xanthe
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
The Twisting Fates series is set in a sort of dystopian future that is controlled and ruled by The Routine, an AI system that has input on everything.
The Screening Room is the first book of the series that follows Owen as he goes through unwillingly being selected to be one of the chosen who will work closely under The Routine in certain roles – military, politicians, civic duty etc. Owen is determined to fight against the system, to keep thinking for himself and doesn’t quite fit the mould that all of the other graduates have. He may be 21 but there are a few moments when he acts a little like a teenager having a tantrum which is, at the same time, endearing and annoying as it shows his level of maturity but also the strain that The Routine is putting on him. It’s interesting with the unconscious “nudges” and ideas that pop into Owen’s head without his input, scary at how the other people around him react and are manipulated into doing what is expected of them. It’s a story that you need to pay attention to as there are sometimes clues in what is seen or experienced and the complex is a place with many moving parts.
I liked the relationships that develop through the book. It’s good that Owen has someone on his side from when he and the other graduates and Colette is a good ally. They both seem to be aware of something the others aren’t and it creates a kinship between them, a positive to share an understanding of what is going on and keep their sanity whilst learning their new daily lives at the complex. Owen’s attraction to another man doesn’t come as a huge surprise to him but what does hugely affect him is his reaction and constant thinking about him. It’s not until later in the book that anything occurs between them but there’s a certain intensity that speaks to an undercurrent that they can’t quite understand but enjoy all the same. There’s trust and a sense of knowing each other and that just brings up more questions for The Routine and what it is possibly capable of. One other is Domo who is a most intriguing character but not one I wish to give away as they come as a nice surprise.
It’s a very interesting premise and something that I was easily visualising as I was reading through. Could definitely see it as a sci-fi TV show that teens and young adults would enjoy.